Record 20 crore trees planted in the Spring Season

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Record 20 crore trees planted in the Spring Season
 ISLAMABAD, Jul 3 (APP): As many as 26.5 percent more trees against the target were planted across the country during spring

season this year, said Climate Change Ministry media spokesperson,

Saleem Shaikh.

He told media on Sunday that a tree plantation target of 153

million was set for the spring season during a high-level

inter-ministerial and inter-provincial meeting held in the climate

change ministry on January 29.

"But 208 million trees were planted during the three-month

spring season, which is staggeringly 55 million more than trees

planted against the target of 153 million trees in short span of

three months," Saleem Shaikh said.

The spring season begins from mid of late February and lasts

till end of April, said a press release.

Giving break-up of the spring tree plantation target achieved

and set, the climate change media spokesperson said Punjab forest

department planted 13.92 million trees against target of 12.09

million trees followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 175.64 million trees

against the target of 123 million trees, Sindh 7.1 million trees

against 6.799 million trees, Balochistan 1.093 million trees against

1.5 million trees, Azad Jammu & Kashmir 3.157 million trees against

1.3 million trees, Gilgit-Baltistan 0.711 million trees against  1.1

million trees, FATA 4.389 against 4 million trees, Capital

Development Authority 259,000 trees against 300,000 trees, National

Highway Authority 70,034 trees against 1,25,000 trees, Ministry of

Defence  6,30,000 trees against 700,000 trees, Heavy Taxila Industry

3,610 trees against 5,000 trees, Pakistan Ordinance Factory 9,200

trees against 15,000 trees and non-governmental organization IUCN

planted 100,000 trees against 250,000.

He said that tree plantation targets are set twice a year for

spring season (February-March) and monsoon season (June-September).

The plantations during these two crucial seasons were vital to boost

tree cover to make the country climate-proof.

"Role of forests in tackling climate change impacts,

particularly floods, soil, wind and river erosions, sea-level rise,

erratic and torrential rains, is now being recognized globally and

so by the present Pakistani government," he said.

Pakistan is home to forests over around 800,000 hectares,

which constitutes to be five percent of the total land mass of the

country.

"But the country loses forests over some 27,000 hectares every

year. This trend of deforestation has exposed the country to the

negative fallouts of the global warming-induced climate change," he

highlighted.

The present PML(N)-led government is abreast of the country's

exacerbating vulnerability to the climate change impacts and was

taking all-out measures to boost climate-resilience of the country.

Saleem Shaikh explained "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's ambitious

Green Pakistan Programme is a clear indicator of the present

government's unquestionable seriousness towards protecting

socio-economic sectors, lives and livelihoods of the people from the

climate change impacts, which have shown rise in frequency and

intensity."

"The climate change ministry has boosted its efforts and in

close contact with the provincial, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu &

Kashmir and FATA forest departments to make the Green Pakistan

Programme (GPP) a success story in the region, which has been well

applauded by the international, regional and national forest

conservationists, environmentalists and climatologists," Saleem Shaikh

said.

He added that under the Rs. 10 billion GPP, around 105 million

trees would be planted across the country in next five years, for

which the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had already approved two

billion rupees for the two financial years (2016-16 and 2017-2018)

The equal amount is to be contributed by the governments of the

federating and three administrative units

The spokesperson further said that the programme would be

launched on August 14 this year, for which a grand launching

ceremony would be held in Islamabad.

Highlighting significance of the forests in tackling climate

change, he said that being major source of livelihoods for millions

the forests play different major roles in this regard.

"They have the potential to absorb about one-tenth of global

carbon emissions projected for the first half of this century into

their biomass, soils and products and store them - in principle in

perpetuity," Saleem Shaikh elaborated.

He said that the important services forests provide are often

under-estimated or ignored. "They can act as safety-net for local

communities, boosting their ability deal with climate risks,

particularly floods and erratic and heavy rains. Mangrove forests,

for instance, can hold back storm surges or cyclonic flooding and

mountain forests help stabilize soil and hence stop soil erosion as

well as landslides," he argued.

According to reports, two billion people worldwide still rely

on forests for their primary source of fuel, he highlighted and

added that woodland has a huge role to play in regulating water

supplies - decreasing storm runoff and reducing the pollutants in

rainfall before it reaches local water sources.

The forests are also one of the world's largest carbon sinks,

absorbing 2.4 billion tones of carbon dioxide each year and storing

billions more, the climate change spokesperson Saleem Shaikh said

while quoting a report of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture

organisation.

Some scientists have warned in the report that deforestation

must be cut by 50 percent by 2020 for the best chance of meeting this target.